Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Mother Leads Event to Fight Son's Disease

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Mother Leads Event to Fight Son's Disease

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | When Jennifer Patrick's son, Logan, was diagnosed at 5 1/2 months old, she and her family had no idea what spinal muscular atrophy was.

"We were devastated when we found out," she said. "Our worlds completely stopped. All the dreams that we had for our child were going to be totally different now.

"We are very blessed and excited to be celebrating my son Logan's sixth birthday on Oct. 11," she said.

Patrick is the vice president of Alabama Chapter of Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and coordinator of Saturday's Walk-n-Roll to Cure SMA event, which will be held at Snow Hinton Park.

In its fifth year based in Tuscaloosa, Walk-n-Roll to Cure SMA aims to raise awareness about the disease and raise donations for research efforts being conducted to find a cure for SMA, which is a genetic neuromuscular disease that destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement.

SMA affects breathing, crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing, according to a news release. One in 6,000 babies will be born with SMA. There is no cure or proven treatment.

In addition to raising money, the purpose of Saturday's walk is to spread awareness among the public and to celebrate the lives of children who have died from the disease. Signs with facts about SMA will line the side walk. Each sign will include the birthdate, a picture, and the date of death of a child that has lost a life because of SMA.

Patrick says her son has SMA Type 1, the most severe form of the disease.

Most children with Type 1 don't live to see their second birthday, Patrick said. Some children die before they are ever diagnosed.

Patrick said that her faith in God and the support of her church, family and friends helped her and her husband through tough times.

Logan now needs a ventilator to help him breathe. He receives breathing treatments three times a day and uses an oxygen tank, a feeding pump and other machines to help him from day to day.

"We try to give him the best quality of life that we can," Patrick said. …

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